PARIS (Reuters) -Another obstacle in top seed Iga Swiatek’s path to a second French Open title was removed on Wednesday as fourth seed Maria Sakkari was knocked out 7-6(5) 7-6(4) by Czech Karolina Muchova in the second round at Roland Garros.
Sakkari, a semi-finalist in Paris last year, never found her groove on Court Suzanne Lenglen as her opponent, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals last year, set up a meeting with American Amanda Anisimova.
The Greek was the latest high seed to exit after Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur (6) and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova (2) were knocked out in the first round.
World number one and red hot favourite Swiatek and third seed Paula Badosa are the only two players from the top six left in the women’s draw.
“It’s very special. It was a big fight it was a big test for me, a challenge and I’m happy I won in two sets,” said Muchova, whose last 12 months have been hampered by injuries.
Sakkari, who had struggled in the first round against French hope Clara Burel, was outplayed initially and fell 5-2 down.
Facing two set points at 40-15, she briefly found her range and her opponent got tight, allowing the Greek to reduce the arrears.
Serving for the set, Muchova double-faulted twice to allow Sakkari to level and the Czech wasted two more set points at 6-5 before producing a backhand winner to win a tight tiebreak.
Sakkari dug deep in the second set to recover a break of serve for 4-4 and saved break points with powerful groundstrokes as the match headed into a second tiebreak.
Muchova opened a 3-0 lead but got tight again, allowing her opponent to level at 4-4, but she regained her poise to wrap up victory with a forehand winner.
Sakkari was frustrated she could not turn things around and believes her physical condition could help her achieve better results if women played the best of five sets like the men.
“It would be amazing for me because I feel like my physical part is my strength,” the world number three said.
“But the tournament is never going to end, so we’re going to have to stay here for a month or build 15 more courts. So I don’t think that’s ever going to happen because the calendar has to be shorter, and I don’t see it happening.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman and Ed Osmond)